Norths will welcome a new name to their famous list of first-grade players on Saturday night as hundreds of former Devils gather at Bishop Park.
Kobe Hetherington will become Devil No. 1290 when he makes his Intrust Super Cup debut at five-eighth in the clash with Central Queensland Capras.
He will be watched on by many who went before him as the annual Norths’ Old Boys function is held to coincide with the Devils’ last home game before the finals.
Hetherington, the son of former Queensland State of Origin hooker Jason, has made his way through the Devils’ Under 20 system and into a team that is making steady progress towards the club’s first finals appearance since 2012.
He will move into a halves role vacated by Sean O’Sullivan, who has been recalled to the Broncos’ NRL team after strong appearances for the Devils in their comfortable away wins over Northern Pride and Mackay Cutters in the last two weeks.
Hetherington will feature in the halves with the experienced Troy Dargan, whose strong form for the Devils has been rewarded with a two-year deal with South Sydney from 2020.
Dargan was among the Devils who stoked a combined 94 points in the last two matches. But the defence has also been building towards the finals with seven tries conceded across the last three games.
Four of those tries came in the final 10 minutes of those matches, providing the Devils with room to improve as the finals loom.
“There’s a lot of pride for our players in how we defend and we’ve done that well in our last few games,” coach Rohan Smith said.
“We’re looking forward to playing at home this week, particularly with so many former players who will be at the game and who have worn the jersey across many years.
“Our players know it’s their time in the jersey now and the next generation will come along after them. We’re all part of a long journey at this club that goes back many years.”
Hetherington will become the 13th new Devil in 2019 and the 35th new player since Smith was appointed for the 2018 season, rebuilding a club that has missed the last six finals series.